SF Bay Area

By Region

By City

My Itinerary 1365
Home »  Articles »  Introducing San Jose
Introducing San Jose

Introducing San Jose

Though culturally diverse and historic, San Jose has always been in San Francisco’s shadow, awash in Silicon Valley’s suburbia. Founded in 1777 as El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, San Jose is California’s oldest Spanish civilian settlement. Its downtown is small and scarcely used for a city of its size, though it does bustle with 20-something clubgoers on the weekends. Industrial parks, high-tech computer firms and look-alike housing developments have sprawled across the city’s landscape, taking over where farms, ranches and open spaces once spread between the bay and the surrounding hills.

History Park: Historic buildings from all over San Jose have been brought together in this open-air history museum, southeast of the city center in Kelley Park. The centerpiece is a dramatic half-scale replica of the 237ft-high 1881 Electric Light Tower . The original tower was a pioneering attempt at street lighting, intended to illuminate the entire town center. It was a complete failure but was left standing as a central landmark until it toppled over in 1915 because of rust and wind.

Winchester Mystery House: An odd structure purposefully commissioned to be so by the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, the Winchester Mystery House is a ridiculous Victorian mansion with 160 rooms of various sizes and little utility, with dead-end hallways and a staircase that runs up to a ceiling all jammed together like a toddler playing architect. Apparently, Sarah Winchester spent 38 years constructing this mammoth white elephant because the spirits of the people killed by Winchester rifles told her to.

MACLA: A cutting-edge gallery highlighting themes by both established and emerging Latino artists, MACLA is one of the best community arts spaces in the Bay Area, with open-mic performances, hip-hop and other live-music shows, experimental theater and well-curated and thought-provoking visual arts exhibits. It’s also a hub for the popular South First Fridays art walk and street fair.

Santana Row: An upscale Main St-style mall, Santana Row is a mixed-use space west of downtown with shopping, dining and entertainment along with a boutique hotel, lofts and apartments. Restaurants spill out onto sidewalk terraces, and public spaces have been designed to invite loitering and promenading. On warm evenings, the Mediterranean-style area swarms with an energetic crowd.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/california/san-jose

Upcoming Events